There are a couple of pop culture atheists that are in vogue now. Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are their names. They belong to a group of people that, for the most part, annoy me: people that are famous for railing against and attacking good things which others hold dear. The following instances are only hearsay, as I was not there personally and have only read about them on websites, but they seem to agree with each other about Mr. Dawkins (Mr. Hitchens sounds more even-keeled and reasonable from the limited reading I've done about him). One episode had Dawkins berating an airport employee about a necklace she was wearing because it had a religious symbol on it, which he claimed was an affront to his intelligence or something to that affect, and then demanding that she remove it immediately. I won't bother to detail the other account of a different episode, but it contained a similar sentiment combatively expressed by the Darwinian disciple.
Why do Dawkins and Hitchens attempt to convince people of faith that their faith is unfounded? Is it any of their business? And why do they display such gleeful enthusiasm (at least Dawkins does) when they come across statistics that show a potentially higher number of atheists among the general population than initially assumed by the people who measure such things, and talk about winning the battle? I understand why religious people passionately attempt to convert non-believers to their way of thinking: they believe they are saving souls from eternal damnation. But what motivation would an atheist have of convincing people that there is no God? If it's simply about educating the stupid masses, then why not engage in teaching something useful, say, literacy or mathematics? If it's not about that, then what is it? And why the verbally abusive reaction to a cross necklace, or Star of David, or something similar? I'm struck by the zealous atheist, as I am used to see them hold their beliefs privately. It's just weird to me, and slightly unsettling for some reason.